Strait school board needs fund­ing in­creases to save staff, pro­grams

Cape Breton Post - - BUSINESS - BY NANCY KING nk­ing@cb­

PORT HAST­INGS — Staff and pro­grams are at stake if school boards don’t see fund­ing in­creases in line with in­creases in its costs, says the su­per­in­ten­dent of the Strait Re­gional School Board.

The Strait Re­gional School board held a press con­fer­ence in Mul­grave Mon­day as part of a provincewide cam­paign by a coali­tion of boards, teach­ers, par­ents and ad­min­is­tra­tors seek­ing a 3.6 per cent in­crease in ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing.

Beaton has said that, in or­der to main­tain cur­rent pro­grams, the board needs an in­crease in its fund­ing al­lo­ca­tion of about 3.6 per cent. For the past two years, it has fallen well be­low that.

“ We talked about the im­pact on things like stu­dents with spe­cial needs if there’s a re­duc­tion in re­source sup­port,” Beaton said. “ We talked about sub­jects that are op­tional now at the ju­nior high level, for ex­am­ple, sub­jects like art and mu­sic, tech­nol­ogy ed­u­ca­tion and fam­ily stud­ies that may need to be re­duced in or­der to al­low us to main­tain core pro­gram­ming.”

Pro­grams that could be af­fected at the high school level could in­clude Op­tions and Op­por­tu­ni­ties, which al­lows stu­dents a look at ca­reers in the trades, Beaton said.

Teach­ing and sup­port staff are ar­eas the board would also ob­vi­ously con­sider, Beaton said. About 85 per cent of the board’s bud­get goes to salaries.

“ The ma­jor­ity of the ef­fect will be on the num­ber of peo­ple that we have em­ployed,” he said, adding tech­nol­ogy and pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment could also be af­fected.

The ex­tra fund­ing could come from ex­tend­ing the time pe­riod to elim­i­nate the deficit, Beaton said. He added prop­erly ed­u­cat­ing chil­dren is a longterm in­vest­ment that pays div­i­dends when they be­come adults.

The board hasn’t come up with spe­cific ar­eas where cuts can be ex­pected, Beaton said, not­ing it’s dif­fi­cult to do be­fore it knows how much money it will re­ceive. The board ex­pects to re­ceive that in­for­ma­tion in early April.

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